Patient-friendly dialysis brought a step closer by leading European research consortium

1 December 2015

The EU-funded project EuTRiPD (European Training &Research in Peritoneal Dialysis), that was coordinated by VU University Medical Center Amsterdam (VUmc), has discovered a large number of biomarkers for peritoneal dialysis (PD). These biomarkers can enhance the efficacy of PD in kidney patients, with the result that patients can be treated with PD for a prolonged period of time.

In Europe over 200.000 patients suffer from kidney diseases that can only be treated with hemodialysis (HD) or peritoneal dialysis (PD). During PD, the blood is cleansed with a liquid that reaches the veins in the peritoneal cavity via a catheter that is placed in the peritoneum. A major advantage of PD over HD is the higher level of freedom for the patient because PD does not necessarily have to take place in the hospital, but can also be performed by the patients themselves at home, at work or during a vacation. Furthermore, PD is about 33% cheaper than HD.

International collaboration
Despite its many advantages, research into PD progressed slowly until recently. This was caused by, among other things, a lack of specialized researchers and the absence of a European research network. "During the past four years a consortium consisting of European universities and companies, led by VUmc, has investigated PD. With a euro 3,2M Marie Curie grant for cutting-edge European research twelve PhD students in leading research centers, supervised by experienced scientists, have done research into effective biomarkers. This has become the foundation of a European network of researchers with expertise in the field of PD," says Tanja van Wier, EuTRiPD project manager at VUmc. "Specifically, the excellent collaboration with both industrial and public partners, like the Dutch Kidney Foundation, has proven to be very valuable."

The discovered biomarkers (proteins and cells that can be measured in the dialysis fluid from the peritoneal cavity of PD patients) can show if PD treatment is successful. "With these biomarkers, we can evaluate whether PD is effective", says Evelina Ferrantelli, PhD student at VUmc. "By carefully monitoring the treatment, we will be able to intervene in time by adding extra medication to the fluid and thus ensure continued, optimal PD for the patient. We hope that our research will contribute to a future in which PD becomes the standard for treating kidney disease."

In the follow-up study (IMPROVE PD) the researchers aim to fortify the peritoneum and to further reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Rob Beelen, professor of molecular cell biology and immunology at VUmc and coordinator of EuTRiPD: "A stronger peritoneum will lead to more effective PD and therefore offers the possibility to proceed with PD treatment for a longer period of time.  We have started a clinical trial to assess the effects of adding certain amino acids to the dialysis fluid or the use of vitamin D via a tablet. The first results are expected soon."

Visit the EuTRiPD website for more information.

source: Original